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Starship Technical Manual - Black Globes

The material in this section should be considered CLASSIFIED and not for dissemination to other than authorized Imperial military personnel.

Black globes typify the incomprehensible artifacts of the Ancients. Rarely do excavations of Ancient sites produce working artifacts. Knorbes (1807 SM/Regina) has proven to be an exception. Knorbes' lesser continent contains an Imperial Game preserve under the supervision of the Imperial Ministry of Conservation. Entry is strictly control and allowed only under the control of IMC's licensed guides. Trespassers to the preserve are dealt with harshly by the IMC guards, backed up by a company sized Imperial Marine task force. Within the provinces of the preserve is a classified Ancient's site.

Administered by the Imperial Navy, it appears this site was originally destroyed during the final war when a massive attack turned the area into an ocean of craters into which the entire mountain range toppled. Natural erosion has since brought the original Brick and Cement buildings back to the surface. Navy has started massive excavations and keeps tight security to keep the existence of the site secret. The reader is reminded of the Imperial Secrets Act and its penalties.

Of special interest to the Imperial Navy was the large stockpile of Black Globe Generators that was discovered here. These devices have been taken away by the Navy for research. Studies of these units were the basis for the Black Globe Technology in use in the Third Imperium today. The Navy has taken elaborate precautions to conceal the fact that a site even exists here. Similarly elaborate measures trap and detain intruders.

This site proved to be a treasure trove, with more than 2,000 operating black globes generators almost waiting to be installed in Imperial ships. Each of the devices found is a small metal device measuring about 300 cm on a side with a shiny metal finish. Two minor discolorations on the surface are the on and off switches.

When the device is activated, it projects a black force field in a sphere around the device at a radius of about one meter. In the first experiments with the device, a researcher was cut in half by the force field when he touched the switch. The second was activated remotely by a rod. Both of the Black Globes could not be then turned off, because the off switch was inside the force field. The force field continued to absorb energy from the kinetic collisions of the air molecules until each device exploded with devastating force. Further experimentation was carried out in space and on vacuum worlds.

Eventually, methods of controlling the radius of the field were established. The black globe generator actually absorbs and re-channels energy: the sphere expands as additional energy is applied. Researchers discovered that a ship's energy capacitors could be used to give a measure of control over the devices, channeling sufficient energy to generate an initial field. Fields large enough to encompass the typical larger fighting ship, however, were inherently unreliable; when capacitors become overloaded, the ship explodes.

The Imperial Navy adopted the black globe as a form of armor for its fighting ships. Using the many black globe devices found, the navy has been able to produce crude duplicates of them, but researchers are still a long way from a good understanding of how these devices work.

Black Globe Technology

Black Globes are Matter to Energy conversion fields with an energy-sink function. Any matter hitting the event shell is converted to energy. Any energy hitting the shell (or converted at the shell) is shunted to the storage banks. This absorption is what creates the "Black Ball" effect: they do not appear, but are detectable by the fact that they block the background Electromagnetic noise of space. AESA systems will not detect Black Globes, as all the sensor signals are absorbed by the Globe field. PESA systems can detect Black Globes, but the sensor operator must be looking for the effect.

Black Globes block all energy penetration from outside and inside. A ship enveloped by a Black Globe is impervious to almost all forms of attack. Particle beams (even those used in meson weapons) cannot penetrate the field. Missiles are converted to energy. The energy from laser weapons is absorbed. Unfortunately both active and passive sensors are unusable from inside a Black Globe field. Propulsion systems, both reaction and reactionless, are also nonfunctional inside the field.

One technique to overcome these limitations is to flicker the Black Globe field. By slaving laser weapons, sensor and reactionless drive systems to BG field control the ship can fight, see and maneuver. Particle weapons systems (including meson systems) discharge much too slowly to be of use during the "off" cycle.

The "Flicker Rate" is the frequency of the flickering. Ships using a BG are blind when it is full up. When it is running on flicker mode, it can see and shoot through the field, although close computer monitoring is needed to prevent absorbing one's own fire. The ship is vulnerable to enemy fire while the field is flickered off. This still results in less damage than would be taken without the field.

Also, traditionally, Zuchai Crystals are used to absorb BG loads. When you overload these capacitors an explosion can result. Energy management can prolong the amount of time that the Black Globe field can be active under fire without explosion. Power can be routed from the capacitors to the weapons system, which can be discharged during "off" flickering cycle. Energy from the Globe can be routed to the Jump capacitors, allowing a ship equipped with a Black Globe to Jump without liquid hydrogen, or other fuel. Energy can be siphoned off to power other ship systems.

After a battle Imperial Naval Vessels have been seen to radiate away excess Black Globe absorbed energy by discharging their energy weapon systems.

It has been postulated by some IN physicists, that should a solid state switching circuit become available capable of handling the tremendous power shunted through the black globe, it might one day be possible to radiate energy directly from the black globe while flickering at megahertz frequencies. The result would be a White Globe, which would be capable of radiating excess energy from attacks, and not susceptible to explosive overload. Instead of being invisible such a field would be white, because it would radiate in all of the frequencies of the spectrum. At such high flicker frequencies the globe would be off for only a few millionths of each second. Such a device is beyond present engineering practices.